Etiquette

Our School of Science and Math has a tradition of holding a pot luck lunch in one of the larger biology teaching labs every “reading day” in the middle of finals week. It’s a decent social event, and all faculty and staff are invited.

I used to go most of the time, though after dropping off my food I’d leave and come back fifteen minutes late, to avoid the food line. Last year, however, I stuck around. And a couple of staff members opened the event with a prayer. I got pissed off, and this year I didn’t show up at all.

Now, in one sense, the prayer is understandable. A rather conservative Christianity is the local culture, and it is close to Christmas. This is what almost all the staff, and a significant minority of the faculty, expect and are comfortable with. Still, to me it seemed like shoving religion in my face at the time. Perhaps I overreacted, but still, I was left with the taste that I wasn’t entirely welcome. It isn’t my damn culture, and I’m not a visitor or a tourist who would just observe the local folkways and move on.

I didn’t make a fuss, but today I wasn’t there. I don’t intend to go back. But I’m really not sure about the etiquette of such matters. Perhaps I’m still overreacting…

My Debate with Dr. Frank Turek
One Christianity or Many Christianities?
Skepticism and Conjunctions
My Twelve-Year Plan
About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University


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